Somber Memorial Day event held in Marin County

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Taps has 24 notes.

Listen for them, and you would have heard the mournful bugled tune played across this nation on the one day every year when we stop at the marble, read the carved names, and surround them with red, white and blue.

"How could we ever forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice?" asked former Marine John Campusano.

The point is, we don't forget on the last Monday of May.

FULL LIST: Memorial Day events in Bay Area

We have remembered since 1865.

Marin County began this morning with a large crowd inside the Veterans' Memorial Auditorium. Most everyone wore a poppy. As they entered the lobby, Meg Tarentino made sure of it. Her husband, son and daughter in law have served. The poppies? Hand-made.

"The poppy has been the symbol of those who have sacrificed for us since World War One," Meg said.

In Marin County, roughly 85 percent of the veterans served in Vietnam. Frankie Reno took part in the Tet Offensive. "What I feel is that with no young people and no draft it is becoming an old man's game," said Frankie.

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America's oldest living man and the oldest World War II veteran, Richard Overton, is celebrating another birthday!

He may have been mostly right. Memorial Day means more to generations that have loved and lost, first hand. They're the same people who appreciate wartime relics like tanks and guns, not for their value as museum pieces, but as the vessels of experiences.

We found William Croziar standing next to an ancient jeep. He served in the Merchant Marine. William told us about being surviving a torpedo attack in North Atlantic, and then how is lifeboat capsized. "You take it in stride. I was nineteen," he said.

"How old are you now?"

"On May 10, I was 96 years old," said William with pride. "Everyone else is gone."

Spoken like an older version of that 19-year old who escaped the marble, for whom taps still waits.

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